Complementary food is the process by which solid foods are gradually introduced into a child’s diet, thus replacing his milk tables over time.
Taking into account the new food pyramid at the base of which vegetables and fruit have been in recent years, the recommendation is to start with the introduction of vegetables or lunch.
The perfect complementary food scheme is a good start and easy to follow for at least 1 month from the moment you begin diversification. All that I recommend is to keep in mind the 4-day rule, to keep up with the child’s acceptance rate and to consult with a medical pediatrician.
Due to the many questions I have been asked about the continuation of the diversification scheme, in this article I will tell you how I did the following 2 meals a day, the table of fruits (morning meal) and the cereal meal (evening meal).
FRUIT MEAL (MORNING MEAL)
What fruits can I give my baby? First, choose the fruits appropriate to the age of the child and the season you are at this time. For details, I recommend reading the Complementary food Table for Baby and Children.You can give your child a single fruit or in combination with another one, at most two. Depending on the category they belong to, the fruits combine according to certain rules. The categories we classify are:
Classification of fruit
Some rules to follow in the case of fruit consumption:
– fruits are eaten uncombined as separate tables;
– fruit consumption between meals is not recommended when the digestion of the previous meal is not over yet;
– fruit juices are treated as a whole meal;
– avoiding the combination of sweet fruits with acidic fruits;
– it is best for melons to be eaten separately, but they may eventually be combined with acidic or sub-acidic fruit.
But there are also some exceptions to these rules:
– avocados combine well with acidic and sub-acidic fruits;
– oilseeds (nuts, hazelnuts) and seeds, well-soaked or germinated, can be combined with fruit;
– dates are well combined with milk.
How do I offer fruits to my child?
To get the best from fruits, it is good to eat them raw. But in the case of a baby’s stomach, things are a little different. That is why, for the beginning, it is recommended to cook the fruits as well as vegetables. You can boil them, or you can bake them in the oven. The second method helps keep their savor so much, so I always preferred it.
The main reasons why I recommend the thermal preparation of fruits, at least in a first stage of diversification:
– the child’s stomach more easily digests food;
– Avoid bacterial contamination, intestinal parasite larvae, and chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides that can be found on raw fruits, especially if they are not very, very well washed.
Then, as your baby grows up and becomes accustomed to solid foods, you can give him raw, diced, sliced or whole-sliced fruit. Whatever method you choose, be sure the little ones will have fun by manipulating them.
And for the table to be more attractive and easier to accept by the child, you can carve out a figurine of apple slices or make a castle of banana slices.
Another quite controversial thing among pediatricians is the form under which fruit is offered: juice or whole. I have chosen to offer them whole to not deprive children of the fibers contained in the pulp of the fruit that helps their digestion process.
CEREAL MEAL (EVENING MEAL)
By the time we were “diversified,” the parents knew they would start with the cereal table. That’s because 30-40 years ago the infant obesity problem was unknown or encountered. Unfortunately, we now see and hear more often about children with weight problems. So the cereal meal is the last main meal in the day feeding a baby. What are the cereals that I can offer my child? Unfortunately, pharmacies and supermarkets have full shelves with colored boxes containing so-called baby cereals. Some of them even have powdered milk, so be careful if you choose to buy them from there. I admit I was not a big fan of these colorful boxes promoted so aggressively by the producing companies. So I have good news, there are much healthier alternatives.
Cereals are divided into two main categories:
– those containing gluten
– those without gluten
Due to the gluten intolerance that some children may develop, gluten-containing cereals can be fed after 8 months of age, and gluten-free cereals at the age of 6 months. However, given that the cereal mass is the last introduced, and diversification is a recommended process since the age of 6 months, you will get to enter the cereals around the age of 8 months, approximately. So the gluten problem is diminishing in the meantime. In Romania, the most popular are gluten grains: wheat, oats, rye, barley.
Gluten-free cereals are: rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth. The latter, however, are used in few homes, the main reason being the lack of information for parents or pediatricians. But with my hand on my heart I tell you they are very good, easy to find and prepared.
At the end I selected some recipes with gluten-free cereals that are among the favorites of my little ones:
– Millet with banana
– Quinoa with apples and vanilla
– Quinoa with plums
– Apple with buds
– Avocado with buckwheat and dried fruit
Hope this continuing perfect complementary food scheme will help you!
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